North Suburban Synagogue Beth El

Rissman Kol Ami Collection

On January 4, 1962, the Board of Directors of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El established the Kol Ami Collection. It was the dream of Maurice and Badona Spertus who donated many works that form the core of the collection. On March 8, 2002, the museum was dedicated by Ellen and Arnold Rissman as the Arnold Rissman Family Kol Ami Museum, in honor of their children, Lauren, Aron and Jacob, “with hope for the future.”

Today, the Rissman Kol Ami Collection includes the many art works and ritual objects displayed throughout the building and used by the congregation. Its mission is “to accept, collect and preserve objects of Jewish ceremonial art, articles of folklore, manuscripts and documents of historical value, in order to illustrate the biography and demography of the Jewish people from a spiritual and artistic point of view, reflecting the religious and cultural mode of life in the past and present.”

The diverse collection encompasses works from the 18th century to modern times that come from many countries around the world. The collection consists of paintings, sculptures, prints, rare books and Judaic ritual objects such as menorahs, spice boxes, crowns, rimonim (Torah finials), pointers, breast plates and a unique tik (Torah case).

The gallery area features objects from the collection as well as visiting exhibits throughout the year.

Visit the Rissman Kol Ami Collection and see some of its treasures.

Current Exhibit: Israel Impressions: Photography by Paul Margolis (May 10 – June 11, 2019)

Working in the streets, market places and homes with his quiet, discreet Leica camera and black and white film, documentary and fine art photographer Paul Margolis documents modern Israel in a fluid, fast-moving style. From pastry merchants discussing their wares, a seventh-generation Arab fisherman, and a portly bedding merchant re-lighting his cigarette to a young man in a women’s clothing store with an automatic rifle slung across his back, a pregnant young woman in the Negev Desert and many other scenes, his photographs represent slices of day-to-day life in Israel.

Meet Paul Margolis on Tuesday, May 14: reception at 7:00pm; presentation at 7:45pm (after the evening minyan). Open to the community, free of charge. Kindly RSVP to Marcie Eskin at or 847/926-7903.


Click here to learn about our Holocaust Memorial Scroll